LONDON, April 28 (UPI) -- British Prime Minister Gordon Brown quickly apologized Wednesday to a retiree he called a "bigoted woman."
The BBC reported Brown, who is facing national elections next month, said he was "mortified" his comments about Gillian Duffy, 65, had been picked up by the SkyNews microphone he was still wearing while in a car.
Duffy had just pressed the prime minister on immigration and other issues and Brown didn't realize his mic was on as he drove away.
"That was a disaster -- they should never have put me with that woman," Brown was heard to say. "She's just a sort of bigoted woman that said she used to be Labor. I mean it's just ridiculous."
Upon learning his comments had been picked up, Brown phoned Duffy and then drove to her home in Rochdale to apologize.
"If you like, I'm a penitent sinner," Brown said afterward. "Sometimes you say things you don't mean to say, sometimes you say things by mistake and sometimes when you say things you'll want to correct them very quickly.
"I wanted to come here and say to Gillian that I was sorry, I had made a mistake, but also to say I understood the concerns she was bringing to me and I had simply misunderstood some of the words she had used."
When told of Brown's derogatory comments, Duffy said she was "very upset."
"He's an educated person. Why has he come out with words like that?" she said. "He's supposed to be leading the country and he's calling an ordinary woman who's come up and asked questions that most people would ask him ... and he's calling me a bigot."
She said she will not be making any comment following Brown's apology.